The show so far has been - to say the least - interesting. It's well attended and has had some great speakers. And yes, everyone is still afraid of Amazon.
Here's my take on what's hot and what's not-
Twitter/Facebook - This subject is red hot and has generated more buzz than just about anything else. Apparently, a research group (who shall remain nameless because I did not see it first-hand) declared that email was dead as a marketing vehicle and that everything is moving to social. Except for old people, who still read email. This is why research people need to be occasionally muzzled. It's true that tweens have limited acceptance of email, but when were they ever an important email constituent? Email goes to the parents, who fund the follies of the youngsters...
Personalization - It's a clear number two on the list. Personalized this and personalized that leads to ginormous increases in sales. While I like a well thought-out approach to personalized recommendations (I saw a GREAT presentation from Mybuys), personalization is sort of the holy grail of marketing...seems super, but good luck finding it.
Myopia - What's been somewhat surprising is the lack of research on the overall market, as opposed to knowledge gained in the line of business. People seem to really know what they know. If they don't know it, it must not exist.
Email - After all, it's dead...with the charge towards personalization, email looks like a relic of the batch and blast past. Personalization is great, but people look for the point of maximum efficiency rather than the point of diminishing returns. Focusing on the former makes you super-hip personalization guy/gal. Focusing on the latter doesn't make you cool...it just makes you money.
Optimization - People want to talk about personalization, but very little time is spent talking about optimization. It's great to have all these web tools, but where's the best place to place them on the page? Color/font/button/etc? Small tweaks can do more to raise sales than the hyper-aggressive (and somewhat creepy) use of personalization. It's stunning how business seems to still run on "I think" (the creatives win!) versus "I know" (the quants win .)
Mobile - Still seems like a nail in search of a hammer. Most web sites have awful mobile presentations, but nobody seems to care. One reseacher said that .1% of retail transactions were done via mobile phone. Which seems really low when juxtaposed with Nielsen's data that shows (on average) 14% of your web visitors come from mobile devices. I think that the measurement tools (like Omniture) need to do a much better job of measuring mobile activity. At the company I used to work for, we determined that about 15% of our email traffic was being rendered in a mobile device. But when we looked at Omniture, it told us that there was almost zero web/mobile traffic. Either my previous company set it up badly (possible) or Omniture has trouble reading mobile-generated data.
Saw a very interesting session about multi-channel operational integration. More on that in the next post.